Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University Celebrate Partnership in Stadium Groundbreaking

April 21, 2021
Architecture Sports

The new 4,000-seat venue will serve as a shared space for Des Moines high school football and soccer programs as well as the new on-campus home for the Drake Bulldogs men’s and women’s NCAA Division I soccer teams.

For more than a century, Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University have partnered in ways big and small to support the education of students in Iowa’s capital city. That partnership took another step forward on Wednesday, April 2, 2022, as the two educational institutions broke ground together on the DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University.

“This is a win for DMPS and Drake University student-athletes,” said superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart. “The stadium is a ​much-needed addition to our school district. It’s a place where all DMPS student-athletes can experience the same opportunities already afforded to more affluent school districts. I am proud to have played a role in moving this project toward completion, to be part of leveling the playing field for our students.”

First proposed in November 2019, this 4,000-seat venue will be used by Des Moines high school football and soccer programs, additional high school activities ranging from marching band festivals to rugby matches, as well as middle school activities. The stadium is a major part of a multi-million-dollar, district-wide initiative to upgrade athletics facilities at all five high schools.

The field will also be the new on-campus home for the Drake Bulldogs men’s and women’s NCAA Division I soccer teams.  

Rendering of the DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

“This is an exciting time for Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University to begin a new era in Des Moines athletics,” said DMPS Board Chair Dwana Bradley. “While we work on improving athletic facilities at all of our high schools, we are also creating something for our students and families to be proud of right here in the heart of our city—a first-class athletic experience equal to that in any school district in the state.”

Construction on the stadium will begin this spring with projected completion in the fall of 2023, in time to light up for the start of the high school football season. Along with DMPS and Drake students, businesses in and around the stadium are expected to benefit from the increased foot traffic, especially stores and restaurants.

“This project, along with other new resources such as the Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club and a new Broadlawns clinic, are all ways in which Drake University is fulfilling its duty as an anchor institution for Des Moines,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “We are proud to partner with Des Moines Public Schools to serve and provide more opportunities to the young people in our community.”

Rendering of the DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Funding for the stadium will include approximately $16 million from Des Moines Public Schools, using sales tax revenue earmarked specifically for infrastructure projects. Drake University is fundraising for the remaining costs of the project and has donated land for the stadium to the school district. In addition, Drake will manage the stadium once it opens, a cost savings to DMPS.

“For years, the Drake Bulldogs have taken great pride in serving as Des Moines’ hometown team,” said Brian Hardin, director of athletics for Drake University. “I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate this long-standing commitment than investing in the young student-athletes of our community.”

RDG Planning & Design is the architect of the stadium and Story Construction is the construction manager.

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About Des Moines Public Schools

For over 100 years, Des Moines Public Schools has been educating the students of Iowa’s capital city. Today, DMPS is the largest provider of public PK-12 education in Iowa, with over 31,000 students and nearly 5,000 teachers and staff at work in more than 60 schools throughout the community. In fulfilling its vision to be the model of urban education, DMPS educates students from a hundred different nations in a variety of programs including some of the state’s top-ranked Advanced Placement courses, a nationally recognized career and technical program at Central Campus, Iowa’s only public Montessori School, the first Iowa-developed online high school, and more.

Media contact:

Phil Roeder, Director of Communications & Public Affairs for Des Moines Public Schools / (515) 242-8153                                                                        

About Drake University

Drake University is a midsize, private university in Des Moines, Iowa, enrolling nearly 3,000 undergraduate and more than 1,800 graduate students. Students choose from over 70 majors,

minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through six colleges and schools. Drake students, faculty, and staff take advantage of the wealth of cultural, recreational, and business opportunities found in Iowa’s capital city. In return, Drake enriches the city through its own cultural offerings, considerable economic impact, and many service-learning endeavors, which channel the talent and energy of the Drake students toward meeting the needs of the community.

Media contact:

Jarad Bernstein, Director of Communications for Drake University  / (515) 650-3877 

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director